Me as a freshman in 2010 on a hike near campus (gotta love my Cal Poly shirt)
It’s hard to believe that it’s been 6 years since my freshman year of college. I’m so jealous of everyone heading to college this fall! Although I don’t miss cramming for tests, I do miss college life sometimes. As cheesy as it sounds, college was seriously the best time of my life! Every now and then I think back and wonder if only I knew back then what I know now. There’s not a whole lot I would change about my college experience, but it might have been a bit easier if I’d kept these things in mind! Here are the things I wish I would have known during my freshman year- good luck to everyone starting this year:
1. Study more than you think you need to. In high school, I hardly studied for tests. I’d quickly look over my notes and I’d end up acing the test. You can’t do that in college. I learned this the hard way! Many college classes have two midterms and a final with no other assignments. Since these make up your entire course grade, you need to make sure you study your butt off for those tests!
2. The people you meet during your first couple of weeks might actually become your best friends. I know this is one of those things that you hear people say and you’re like, yeah right. For me, it was completely true. I met my very best friend during orientation over the summer (crazy, I know), and the rest of my core group of best friends the first week of college. You never know what’s going to happen!
3. You’re going to fail. And it’s okay. You’re going to fail that test you thought you studied so hard for. You’re going to call your mom crying and tell her that you can’t do it and that you might as well just drop out. Don’t stress too much about a couple of bad grades, because in the long run, they won’t matter. College is going to kick your butt, but you’re going to get through it.
4. It’s okay to stay in. Most people think freshman year is all about partying. For some people, it is. But if you don’t want to go out, don’t. Don’t let anyone make you feel bad about not wanting to go out, because the best part about college is that you can do whatever you want! If you feel like watching OC reruns and getting late night waffles on the weekends, that is totally okay. I had some of my best nights staying in freshman year!
5. It’s okay to go out. I’m not going to lie, I was an extremely naive baby when I entered college. I never drank or partied in high school, and the idea of it all scared me. The first time I went to a college party, I was a little freaked out. If I could go back in time, I’d tell myself that it’s okay to go out. I’d tell myself to go to the party, learn how to play beer pong, and loosen up!
6. Don’t worry about boys. If you think that college boys have somehow magically matured since high school… you’re wrong. In fact, they’re almost worse. Don’t waste your time wanting a boyfriend or chasing guy after guy, because in college it’s not worth it. Most guys aren’t ready for relationships, and it’s more fun to be single in college, anyway!
7. Go to office hours. You might not think you need to, but you do. Not only is it great to get face time with your professors (it’ll make you stand out in a large class!), it is so helpful. I didn’t realize this until, oh, like sophomore year. If there’s a concept you don’t understand, or part of your essay you want to rework, go to office hours. I can’t stress enough how important it is! This would have made my life 10x easier if I’d gone freshman year.
8. Walk around your classes before the first day. This is something I did for years after my first experience of walking into the wrong classroom. College campuses are big (most are way bigger than Cal Poly!) and mine was super confusing. To avoid being late, or walking into the wrong class, do a walk through of your schedule to find the buildings and classrooms you’ll be in. It will be one less worry on your first day!
9. Get out of your comfort zone. I’m a pretty shy person, so approaching random people and going to social events solo was way out of my comfort zone. But trust me, get out of your comfort zone. I wish I had pushed myself more freshman year! Join clubs, attend events, take weird classes, and meet as many people as you possibly can. You’ll only have more fun, trust me!
10. Everything is going to be okay, so take it all in. College only gets better after freshman year! I promise you, everything is going to work out. Even if your roommate sucks, or you got your heart broken, it’s all going to be okay. The bad things are going to make for GREAT stories later, and will make you so much stronger as a person. Make sure to take it all in, no matter what happens, because those four years are going to fly by. And you’re going to love every second of it.
What are some things you wish you’d known? I’d love to know! 🙂